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GameOn: Super Mario Maker is super fun

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The dream of Mario maniacs the world over has finally become a reality. The power to create your very own in-game Super Mario levels has been handed over by the powers that be. Yes, that’s right. After years of wondering, “How’d they think of that?” the curtain has finally been lifted. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Super Mario Bros. franchise, Nintendo has written a love letter to its fans with the release of Super Mario Maker.

Let’s get this straight upfront: Super Mario Maker isn’t Game Engineering 101. You’re not going to be tasked with learning how to use complicated software or any detailed nuances. Super Mario Maker is a friendly and simplified approach to designing your own Mario courses for yourself and others. And yes, that does mean that there is an element of “work” involved, but it is a welcomed task that opens your eyes to all the different possibilities that the little plumber’s world has to offer.

SuperMario (2)The approach to designing your own courses is very straightforward and easy to master. There are really no rules at all; you can freely move back and forth from the beginning of the course to the end and edit any part you want, whenever you want. Now, with all the different Mario games that have been released, the question is: What iteration of Mario’s world are we creating? Super Mario Maker gives four different “themes” to choose from: classic, original 8-bit Super Mario Bros.; Super Mario Bros. 3; Super Mario World; and the more recent Super Mario Bros. U.

SuperMario (1)When it comes time to add all the different course elements, Super Mario Maker lets you be as imaginative as you want. At the top of the screen is your palette, a bar containing different iconic items and enemies in Mario’s world. Everything from Piranha Plants to 1 UPs can be added by selecting them from the bar and dragging them onto the level’s layout. There’s no limit as to how many items you can add, so if you ever wanted the challenge of facing down 50 Koopa Troopas all at once, now’s your chance. The only problem is that the dragging feature can become tedious.

SuperMario (3)Once you’re done designing your course, you can save it in your Coursebot and play it whenever you’d like. There’s also the online Course World mode, which allows you to download and play courses created by others, as well as post your own. For those who might need a little extra spark to get their creative juices flowing, there are ten Mario Challenges – pre-made, mini levels – to give you examples of how to go about your own course-building.

After three decades, the Super Mario Bros. franchise continues to try new approaches to gaming. You have to give the developers at Nintendo credit for trying to think outside of the box. But is Super Mario Maker ultimately a lazy offering by Nintendo – one that makes their consumers create their own game, so to speak, instead of creating an all-new, original one for them? That’s an argument that could be made, but Super Mario Maker was created with the diehard Mario fans in mind, and they are the ones who will be playing this game with all the gusto of 5-year-olds who are finally living out their childhood dreams of making video games.

For more information, visit supermariomaker.nintendo.com.

by Jason Savio

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